Pakistan and America: Relations Wrought Taut


With both Admiral Mullen and Secretary of Defense Panetta upbraiding Pakistan, particularly the ISI for its ‘’veritable arm’’ the Haqqani Network, the relations between the two countries have plunged into a state of decline.

While Americans suggest scourges for Pakistan’s perfidy with Congressman Ted Poe introducing the “Pakistan Accountability Act” and Senator Lindsey Graham calling for ‘all options’ to be considered for the ‘deceitful country’ (and clearly, what one extracts from his statements by reading between the lines is that he desires for an attack on Pakistan) – the Pakistani Government and Army have been unapologetic and dismissive of the accusations.

Reminding the world that Haqqani was once the blue-eyed boy of the US, as is the case with most of the fighters in Afghanistan of the Soviet War that the US had ’abandoned’ and left to and for the use of Pakistan’s Establishment.

(USA hasn’t placed the Haqqani Network under the list of terrorist organizations)

The entire situation seems precarious and what it holds and will evince at the end is left to speculations that can only be made on the basis of facts; the most significant of which is that both the United States and Pakistan are, as of yet, mutually dependent upon each other. Albeit, not equally.

Both have a set of choices to select from.

If Pakistan refuses to shun its links with the Haqqani Network as part of its Strategic Depth Policy (that seeks to ensure an Afghanistan with a Pro-Pakistan Government for various reasons that are part of an entirely new subject) or if US-Pak relations further degenerate in the future – America can:

1. Reduce or cut the aid it channels to it.

2. Increase drone attacks.

3. With the All-American raid in Abbottabad for Osama, the potentiality of other unilateral strikes and actions inside Pakistan can not be ruled out.

4. Economically assail; The United States has become Pakistan’s largest trading partner (To reward Pakistan for being an ally?) and can reduce this position by closing its markets for Pakistani goods.

5. Expand and apply other pressure tactics.

In case of Option.3 being carried out, one might predict that a decisive decision will be taken by Pakistan which may be a turning-point for the entire relation.

Why may that be, the reasons being that the Pakistani Army and Intelligence came under great censure after the May Raid, losing credibility in the eyes of many. A newspaper editor aptly remarked that what they hadn’t faced in the past 64 years (due to their ‘Holy Cow‘ status‘), the faced after that single raid.

Thus it is derived that they can not afford to come under that fire once again, it would be a great blow to their institution and all that it claims to stand for.

Secondly, the current climate of Anti-Americanism (that has bloated since the country joined the ‘War On Terror’ which many believe is solely ‘America’s war’ and blame for their country’s national, economic and political nosedive that occured after Pakistan’s engagement in the WoT) brimming with bellicosity in the wake of the charges hurled will force those in power in Pakistan to either retaliate or finish all connections with the ‘Great Satan’.

In face of which, USA might impose sanctions on Pakistan.

Coming back, Pakistan’s position presently and the factors that can determine its course of action lest the USA takes an unfavourable step, are excellently described and elucidated by Ex-CIA Officer Bruce Riedel in his new article :

‘Reality is less important than image in this war. The Army leadership also feels it can weather any blowback from Washington. The generals assume U.S. military aid will be cut or eliminated by Congress sooner rather than later, and they are confident that the Saudis and Chinese will fill the gap.

They also know NATO’s logistical supply line to Kabul runs through Karachi (more than half of everything NATO eats, drinks, and shoots arrives via Karachi despite intense efforts to find alternatives). They have leverage and they know it. And of course, they have the fastest-growing nuclear arsenal in the world with a developing tactical nuclear capability. They feel they hold a lot of aces, maybe more than they should. Cocky poker players are dangerous.’

Pakistan has also been extending its hand of friendship to Russia and especially Iran, which has manifestly irked the USA.

The importance of the NATO Supply Route that runs through Pakistan can be gauged from this:

Shifting supply lines elsewhere would substantially increase the cost of the war and make the United States more dependent on authoritarian countries in Central Asia,” reports Craig Whitlock for the Washington Post.

“With landlocked Afghanistan lacking seaports, and hostile Iran blocking access from the west, Pentagon logisticians have limited alternatives.” While Pakistan has not threatened closure, the shift in routes reflects deteriorating US-Pakistani relations: In 2009, about 90 percent of surface cargo passed through Pakistan; about half that has since been diverted through other countries to the north including Russia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Azerbaijan.

 Ammunition or weapons are prohibited; shipping by air costs 10 times more than using roads through Pakistan. For the US, the new routes through multiple nations present new complications in logistics, diplomacy and its human rights objectives.

The conclusion is, the relationship between both countries is uncomfortable at its best but hard to wriggle out from, particularly for America due to the necessity and indispensability it (the relation)commands today in view of the leverage Pakistan has that Riedel mentioned and as Admiral Mullen pointed out:

‘A flawed and difficult relationship [with Pakistan] is better than no relationship at all.’

Will USA grant Pakistan a seat at the negotiating table in Kabul so that it is given a share of its stake and influence in Post-war Afghanistan for the purpose of which its Establishment pursues dubious strategies? Will Pakistan go after the Haqqani Network?

Or will some other deal between the two be sought? Only time can tell as relations between the two are wrought taut.

- Hafsa Khawaja

Getting Registered As A Voter!


The most important political office is that of the private citizen.  ~Louis Brandeis

The most important political office is indeed, that of the private citizen and I add, his authority lies with the power of his vote.

The Election Commission of Pakistan recently its campaign for the door-to-door verification of voter-lists.

It began on the 22nd of August and will end on the 30th of September 2011.

Many wish to vote in the next elections but either do not have themselves included/verified in the voter lists or haven’t registered for them yet.

To sort this out, I’ve Googled and gathered the instructions from here to get one’s vote registered:

 

REGISTRATION PROCESS :

Go to your nearest Office of Assistant Election Commissioner / Registration Officer located in your area.
If you do NOT know where your closest office is located, you can find out by contacting the Election Commission of Pakistan at  (051) 920 1975  or  (051) 920 6062  and asking them the address and phone number of the closest office to you.

You can also contact 1217 to get the same information or log onto http://www.ecp.gov.pk/Contactus.aspx.

Once at the office, collect a “Voter Registration Form” and fill it out in full.
Basic information will be required as well as a Photocopy of National Identity Card as well as Proof of Residence – this includes any kind of utility bill (electricity, gas, water or telephone).

Once complete, submit the form and you’re DONE!

PLEASE NOTE: Your vote will be registered to the address written on the National Identity Card.
For example if you are registering in Karachi and your home address is in Lahore, you will have to vote in Lahore.


For Overseas Pakistanis :

Overseas Pakistanis are allowed to be registered by their family, friends or relatives who live in the area of your residence in Pakistan. The process is simple roughly the same however please note! Any Citizen of Pakistan can get registered as voter anywhere in Pakistan and can cast their vote if he or she is in Pakistan during the time of elections. You must be IN PAKISTAN to cast your vote!


AFTER REGISTRATION :

After you have submitted your registration form, in a few days confirm to make sure YOU ARE ON THE VOTER LIST!
This can be confirmed;

You can obtain the “Voter List” from the Assistant Election Commissioner/Registration Officer. Check to see whether your name is on the list.

You will also be able to see the “Voter List” on the Election Commission’s website, but it’s currently unavailable.

Once you have confirmed you are registered, you will be able to vote in the Federal and Provincial Elections.

____________________________________________________________________________

As far as the Voter-Verification Drive is – I, although am someone who is vehemently Anti-Imran Khan lend my full appreciation and admiration to the PTI-Supporters and workers for their efforts in trying to help people register and mobilize them to vote.
The following is from their site page:

The Verification Process:

The ECP representative will bring the Electorol Lists with them. If your name is present in the list and the address and information is correct, you will just verify it and will not be required to fill a new form.

If your name is missing in the list, or you are registering your vote for the first time, then you will FILL THIS FORM.


Which Documents Are Required? 

1. Copy of Computerized National Identity Card (CNIC).

2. If your current address is different than your CNIC address, you will be required to provide a proof of residence in the form of a Utility bill (Electricity, Gas, Water or Telephone) or rental agreement.


Who is eligible to register as a voter? 

As per ECP: I am entitled to be registered as a voter, if:

  1. I am a Pakistani citizen
  2. I am not less than eighteen (18) years of age
  3. I have not been convicted by any court of law
  4. I am a resident of the area/ owner of, or in possession of immovable property in Pakistan.


Election Commission did not visit my house, my vote is still not registered!

In case no representative from ECP visits your house till 30th sept, you must contact ECP or your local PTI organizer.


Contacting Election Commission Contact:

Address:      

ECP Secretariat, Election House,

Constitution Avenue G-5/2 ,

Islamabad.


Secretary Office Telephone:   
 (+92)(51)(9201975) (+92)(51) (9206062)

For ECP Provincial Offices: CLICK HERE:

           

How Can I Help In This Campaign:

Help out to register the vote:

1. You can take a printout of this FORM (A) 

2. Make as many photocopies as you can and distribute it among your family and friends.

3. Make sure you encourage and help to register.

Spread the Word:

1. Discuss the importance of registration of votes at your educational institutions.

2. Start youth mobilization campaigns at your educational institutions.

3. Write about it in newspapers, magazines, notice boards.

4. Make awareness on social media – Twitter, Facebook, Forums, Youtube etc.

______________________________________________________________________

For a nation that seems to have a natural propensity to whine about the situations in the country and is defined by inaction, voting should be the start for them in contributing for a change in Pakistan.

One who does NOT bother to fulfill his duty to vote does NOT have the right to cry and crib about the state of Pakistan, what is happening in the country or call himself a concerned and responsible citizen.

Better to make an effort than whining for the rest of the 1825 days after the elections.

So spread the word. Get all those eligible in your family to verify their information in the voter lists by co-operating with the ECP Officials and taking them to register their names for it if they haven’t before. Engage people in discussions relating to this matter and spur them into action.

Convince and help them to get enrolled as voters. Prompt the people in your educational institutions, area, among friends, relatives. Make posters, prinoutouts with catchy slogans. Propogate the significance of voting. Use internet activism. Print out the registeration forms and hand them out.

Democracy can only function properly in Pakistan if its people have a democratic mindset and wish it to work by availing what it involves and believing in its effectiveness; voting, protesting etc.

If one by one, the individuals in Pakistan come to make almost 200 Million people. Vote by vote, change can come to Pakistan.

You owe your vote to your country.

So please, Get Yourself Registered. Vote Your Voice For The Revolution of The Polling Station. Create the Change!

~ Hafsa Khawaja

Published in: on September 4, 2011 at 10:32 am  Comments (4)  
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